Vive Le Canada

US Troops Run Amok in Afghanistan
Date: Tuesday, March 06 2007
Topic:


BRACEWELL: The behaviour of US troops is now imperiling Canadian men and women.


Moreover, there is this vicious circle inasmuch as even professional occupying armies become demoralized in time, which leads to acts of violence against the civilian population and thus strengthens resistance.

Zbigniew Brzezinski on Occupying Armies:



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EVENTS

American troops opened fire on a highway filled with civilian cars and bystanders on Sunday, American and Afghan officials said, in an incident that the Americans said left 16 civilians dead and 24 wounded after a suicide car bombing in eastern Afghanistan. (2) Afghan witnesses and gunshot victims said U.S. forces fired on civilians in cars and on foot along at least a six-mile stretch of road in Nangarhar province following a suicide attack against the Marine convoy. (5)

An official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to release the information said the troops were Marine Special Operations Forces. (4)


The U.S. military were first saying 16 were killed and 24 wounded, then revised this to eight civilians killed and 34 wounded. The military did not explain the revised, lower death tolls. (4)



AFGHAN ACCOUNTS

“They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway,” said Tur Gul, 38, who was standing on the roadside by a gas station and was shot twice in the right hand. “They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot.” (2)


"When we parked our vehicle, when they passed us, they opened fire on our vehicle," said 15-year-old Mohammad Ishaq, who was hit by two bullets, in his left arm and his right ear. "It was a convoy of three American Humvees. All three humvees were firing around." (4)


Mohammad Karim, an 18-year-old employee at a hotel near the blast site, said he ran outside after the explosion and saw American forces fire a stream of bullets at a four-wheel drive vehicle. "I ran to the vehicle to see how many people were inside. We found three dead bodies, and one wounded, but he was also in a very critical condition," he said. (4)


"I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction," Ahmed Najib, a 23-year-old hit by a bullet in his right shoulder, said of the U.S. forces. "I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans." (4)


US MILITARY CLAIMS REBEL FIRE PROVOKED KILLINGS

The Americans treated every car and person along the highway as a potential attacker, though none of the people showed hostile intent, Muhammad Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar, told The A.P. (2)

Malik Shakan, 45, a village elder, said "I can assure you 100 percent" that no militants had fired on the Americans. (4) A number of Afghan officials accused the US Marines of opening fire indiscriminately following a suicide bomb attack on their convoy in Nangarhar province. (1)


Abdul Ghafour and Noor Agha Zwak, speaking on behalf of the Nangarhar police and Government, and Zemeri Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul, also claimed the deaths and injuries were due to American fire. (1)


No provincial or central government official has confirmed the U.S. military's account that the convoy came under rebel gunfire. (3)


Some of the wounded interviewed in the hospital by news agencies said the only shooting came from the American troops. A hospital official, who asked not to be identified, said all the wounded were suffering from bullet wounds and not shrapnel from the bomb explosion. (2)



REPORTER TOLD: DELETE PHOTOS OR GET DELETED

U.S. forces later deleted photos of the vehicle taken by a freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and video taken by a freelancer working for AP Television News. The freelance photographer, Rahmat Gul, said an American soldier took his camera and deleted the photos, saying he didn't have permission to take them. Gul said a soldier later said it was OK to take photos, but that the first soldier came back and angrily told him to delete the photos again. Gul said the soldier then raised his fist as if he was going to strike Gul. (4)


The A.P. also quoted Taqiullah Taqi, a reporter for Afghanistan’s largest television station, Tolo TV, saying that American troops told him and his crew to delete images in no uncertain terms: “According to the translator, they said, ‘Delete them, or we will delete you,” he said. (6)


Meanwhile, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders is raising questions about the indicent: “Why did the soldiers do it if they don’t have anything to hide? The situation is very tense in Afghanistan, and the media should be able to report about it freely and safely,” (6)



AFGHAN RESPONSES

Hundreds of Afghans blocked the road and threw rocks at police officers in protest afterward, with some demonstrators shouting “Death to America! Death to Karzai!” Recall that deadly riots shook Kabul last May after American troops were involved in a fatal car crash and then opened fire on the crowd. (2)


Karzai has ordered an inquiry, but previous such investigations by NATO and the Afghan government have done nothing more than confirm witness accounts that those killed were civilians. Despite hundreds of civilian deaths, no foreign soldier has ever been found guilty. (3)


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Canadian commander - Brig Gen Tim Grant

“I tell the troops that there are 55,000 drivers in Kandahar city and maybe five among them are suicide bombers. But if we treat all the other 54,995 drivers like they are all suicide bombers then we have lost,”



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(1) US under fire in Afghanistan after civilians shot dead


(2) 16 Civilians Die as U.S. Troops Fire on Afghan Road


(3) Karzai slams Afghan deaths after raid on US force


(4) Afghan, US Reports on Firefight Differ


(5) Marines warned photographers to delete photos 'or we will delete you’


(6) As Afghanistan Wobbles - No Pictures Allowed


Zbigniew Brzezinski on... Canadian commander - B... (1) US under fire in A... (2) 16 Civilians Die... (3) Karzai slams Afg... (4) Afghan, US Reports... (5) Marines warned ph... (6) As Afghanistan Wob...



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